(Reuters) - Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) Chief Executive Philippe Dauman said he speaks with Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone several times a week and that the 92-year-old media mogul is in charge of his own healthcare.
While Redstone recently gave Dauman power of attorney over his advanced healthcare directive, “he is fully in charge of his own healthcare decisions,” Dauman said, speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York Monday.
“Contrary to what some people have suggested, no one other than Sumner Redstone is making healthcare decisions for him as it relates to his physical condition,” Dauman said.
Dauman spent the first several minutes of his session at the conference discussing what he called “misinformation,” stemming from a lawsuit filed by one of Redstone’s former girlfriends that raised new questions about the billionaire’s competence and ability to run Viacom and CBS Corp (CBS.N).
The lawsuit, filed by Manuela Herzer, describes Redstone as mentally vacant, “listless”, prone to uncontrollable crying spells and demands he receive a mental examination to determine whether he could still make decisions for himself.
Redstone had chosen Herzer to make him health care decisions in case he was not able to. But she was replaced by Dauman on Oct. 16.
Dauman emphasized that there is a plan in place for when Redstone dies, noting that Redstone set up a seven person trust, that includes himself and Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone, to oversee his voting stake in both CBS and Viacom.
Redstone, who is executive chairman of both Viacom and CBS, stepped down as CEO in 2006.
Dauman said he speaks to Redstone several times a week and meets with him frequently. He declined to comment on Redstone’s “personal” litigation.
Redstone controls about 80 percent of the voting shares in CBS (CBS.N) and Viacom through a holding company, National Amusements.
Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Bernard Orr